Hillary Clinton has received nearly $75,000 in political contributions from employees at the Department of Justice, the agency that would decide whether or not to act if the FBI recommended charges against Clinton or her aides following its investigation into her private email server.
Justice Department employees have given Clinton far more money than her rivals, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and Donald Trump, according to a review of federal campaign contributions for the 2016 presidential cycle.
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Clinton collected $73,437 from individuals who listed the "Department of Justice" as their employer. Twelve of the 228 contributions were for $2,700, the maximum individual amount allowed by law.
The fundraising haul marks a dramatic increase over Clinton’s unsuccessful presidential run in 2008, when she took in 23 contributions totaling $15,930 from employees at the agency, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Trump, by comparison, has received little help from Justice Department employees, recording just two contributions for a total of $381.
Sanders has taken 51 donations totaling $8,900 from Justice Department employees.
David Bossie, president of the watchdog group Citizens United, told the Washington Free Beacon he is not surprised by the donations, and renewed his call for Attorney General Loretta Lynch to appoint a special counsel to handle Clinton’s case.
"I’m not surprised in the least to see more evidence that shows the politicization of the Justice Department," Bossie said in a statement to the Free Beacon. "How can Democrat political appointees fairly investigate someone who is about to become their nominee for president? That’s why last July I called on Attorney General Lynch to appoint an impartial special counsel to investigate the private Clinton email server."
"Today, I renew my call that Attorney General Lynch must appoint a special counsel to determine if Hillary Clinton or her agents broke the law and compromised our national security," he continued. "This investigation needs to be conducted free of political influence once and for all."
Bossie has questioned whether Lynch could remain impartial due to her past political donations. Lynch gave $10,700 in contributions to Democratic candidates between 2004 and 2008.
Howard Krongard, who was inspector general for the State Department from 2005 to 2008, predicted earlier this year that even if the FBI referred Clinton’s case to the Justice Department for prosecution it would "never get to an indictment."
Krongard said the case would have to go through "four loyal Democratic women," including Lynch, top White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, and Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell, who heads the department’s criminal division.
The FBI is expected to interview Clinton in the coming weeks about her email practices. Clinton maintains that she has not been contacted by the FBI about an interview. However, the FBI has interviewed Clinton’s aides, including top adviser Huma Abedin.
The Justice Department did not return a request for comment.
Update 05/10/16: After publication, former U.S. Attorney Matthew Whitaker, who directs the watchdog group Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, called for a special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton.
"The report out today that Hillary Clinton received almost $75,000 in political contributions from Justice Department employees is yet another reason why the Justice Department cannot and should not decide whether to bring a case against Hillary Clinton for her reckless handling of classified information while Secretary of State," Whitaker said in a statement. "The decision of whether or not to bring a case against Clinton will be a difficult one for Attorney General Loretta Lynch, as I don’t believe she has the fortitude to oppose President Obama, who has publicly said Clinton’s behavior didn’t put our national security at risk. Since this Administration has shown no ability to be impartial, looking the other way at every turn of this investigation, I’m renewing an urgent call for the appointment of a special counsel in this case."